The Top That’s Missing From Your Closet

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Before you were spending so much time at home, you may have thought you had a well-rounded wardrobe. You have nice blouses and sweaters for the office, you have cute tops to wear for date nights and girls’ nights out, and you have comfy t-shirts to wear on the weekends. But now that you’re home much more than you expected, you may realize that you’re missing something – tops that land somewhere in the middle. Tops that are nicer than a basic t-shirt, but not your typical office-appropriate blouse or going out top.

You know what I mean, right? You may suddenly be on multiple Zoom calls a day – and a silky blouse feels like too much, but a simple t-shirt feels like too little. Or you may be getting tired of wearing your workout clothes 24/7, but everything else in your closet feels too dressed up for hanging out at home. So what item can fill this wardrobe gap?

Elevated t-shirts. You may not have heard this term before (partially because I made it up), but it’s something that I find lacking in many clients’ wardrobes. An elevated t-shirt is a top that’s as easy to wear as a t-shirt, but it has something that takes it beyond just a plain, solid, run-of-the-mill knit t-shirt. Whether it’s color or shape or print or detail, the design elevates it into a piece that adds definite style points to your look, rather than a basic underlayer.

Do you have elevated t-shirts in your wardrobe? If you do, check out these outfits for a few ways to wear them (and click here for my list of other wardrobe essentials). And if you don’t, scroll down to see the different kinds of elevated t-shirts I recommend to clients (and you can check out the outfits, too!).



Color and print are the most straightforward ways to take a top from okay to interesting. Many of my clients have lived in the land of very basic t-shirts – they only think of t’s in terms of solid black, white and grey, and completely ignore the interest that color and print can provide. So, if you’re jumping on a video call and looking for a top to wear under your cardigan (that doesn’t look like you just wore it to virtual yoga), an elevated t-shirt is the ideal choice.

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Take this straightforward, work-from-home outfit. With a simple white t-shirt, it would be fine – but just fine. But with the addition of a neutral stripe, it goes from so-so to stylish. (Check out more stay-at-home and work-from-home outfits here.)

Color & print t-shirts (from left to right): Rebecca Taylor, Theory, Rag & Bone, Banana Republic. All other items from Banana Republic.



When you take a simple knit top, but add design details like a puff shoulder or an asymmetrical hem or a neckline that’s not crewneck or v-neck, you’ve elevated it beyond basic t-shirt status. So, these pieces are great when you need something casual, but not plain. Or when it’s hot out and you wouldn’t even consider wearing a jacket to complete your look. Or when you just want to throw on something easy, but don’t want it to look like it was all that easy.

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Casual date night (even if it’s currently pizza on the porch) deserves something more than the t-shirt you wore all day with leggings. So grab a bold color with a distinctive sleeve as something a little unexpected. And if you’re looking for more casual date night looks, read this.

Shape t-shirts (from left to right): Banana Republic, Caslon at Nordstrom, Ted Baker, Halogen at Nordstrom. All other items from Banana Republic.



It’s all in the details, as they say – and that also applies to an elevated t-shirt. Details like crochet accents or lace embellishments or studs or trims are an amazing way to add personality and charm to what would otherwise be something versatile, but not completely eye-catching. It’s a subtle shift, but definitely worth it.

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A black t-shirt is a must have in anyone’s wardrobe – but a black t-shirt with studs is a must have on steroids! It adds a big dose of edge to your girls’ night, whether that’s Facetime with your best friends (right now) or bar night with your grad school crowd (in the not too distant future).

Detail t-shirts (from left to right): Vince Camuto, Banana Republic, Rebecca Taylor, Topshop. All other items from Banana Republic.

Are you looking to figure out the holes in your wardrobe and create outfits that you actually look forward to wearing? Contact me to discuss my in-person and virtual styling services and how we can work together to make you feel great in what you’re wearing, each and every day.


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